I often waver back and forth about sharing personal details of my life. But, I realize I also love that sharing what’s going on for me can help others relate, too. It’s such a beautiful moment of connection (even if just through the internet) where you can have that moment of, “Ah, me too.” That nod of “I know exactly what you mean” can be refreshing.
So, on I go with sharing how a dream shook me awake from my frenzied pace. If you’ve read from my blog posts before, I love writing about simplifying life. Often, I focus on being intentional with how we spend our time. Last night I had a dream that was vivid with emotion. Have you ever had one of those? People have all different understandings of dreams, but I woke up clear as day what this one meant for me. What was my dream? It was about waking up and realizing I missed a full year of my daughters life. I was filled with extreme regret. It was almost one of those end of your life moments where you review what you’d do differently and I could see myself saying, “I would spend Marley’s second year of her life being more present.”
If any parents out there are reading, I’m sure you can empathize a bit with parental regrets. I think it’s the regrets we all try to avoid. We want to be the best parents and do the right things, right? Absolutely. I think this dream came because just before heading off to bed I saw a memory flash on my phone screen of Marley in August. She looked so different. She looked like such a baby. I thought, “wait, how did she change this much…wasn’t that just yesterday?” Since August, our Fall flashed by like a blur. We moved, both working, and have been doing a complete house renovation. It’s not just a casual house renovation- everything has been changed- and we haven’t wasted any time doing it.
So I’m reflecting on how this dream shook me awake to re-dedicate on living intentionally. No, I don’t want to actually look back on my life and recognize I missed an entire year of Marley’s life. I’m going to share my takeaways from the dream, but my invitation is to see if there’s any way life is trying to speak to you about changes you need to make? Life is so short.
1) On my epitaph, I won’t care if it includes: “She got a lot done.” Absolutely not. Yet I often live life that way. I have a week checklist and a weekend checklist. And it’s a race to see how much I can accomplish. It’s not about completing tasks, it’s about savoring the moments with people I love and doing things with a purpose.
2) I also won’t care if they’d forget to mention that I have a beautiful home. Yes, we’ve been remodeling. But a home is a home. Both Alan and I are creative, so we see a home as a blank slate. Yet, at my funeral if they forget to mention I had a beautiful home I could not care less.
3) Gosh oh golly, I definitely won’t care if they leave out our end bank statement. Is that sharing too much? Yet I’m saying it because I’m hoping that others can relate to the identity and security we often place in creating a certain number in our bank account. Listen, I’m married to a financial analyst. We will never “not care” about money. Being wise with money and investments is important, but it’s definitely not what will be important at the end of our life. Maybe this is why I always have a certain longing come up when I see shows from different countries. Whenever they say the country has a more laid back approach to work, I bit of jealousy comes up. In the United States, we are probably known for being workaholics. Life is not about money.
4) They also don’t need to mention anything about the things I have. Nope, nothing needs to be said about what I wore to that Christmas party, or what bag I carried, or if I had the proper dinnerware. The thing about that picture from August was we were living out of our suitcases down in Delaware for a month. We had minimal things with us, but it was so freeing. Less stuff, more joy.
I know I just said a lot of what I wouldn’t care about on my epitaph, but what about what I do want? I want it to be about the type of person I became, the relationships I built, the purpose I found from my work. And my “work” being more than the work I do that gets a paycheck. My work in writing, in raising a fearless daughter, in the people I sit with hearing about their life and hopefully spurring them on, even if just a little. How I’d like to live makes me think of part of a quote from Nadine Stair. She said, “You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.”
Here’s to living each moment with awareness and intention…and gratitude. Happy rooting, everyone!